SKF Test Centre wins design prize at the International Architecture Awards

March 2019 News

At The International Architecture Awards in Athens, SKF won a design award for its Sven Wingquist Test Centre. With over 1000 entries from across 31 countries, the awards are globally recognised as a high accolade for any company. The judges complemented SKF on the uniqueness of the design, its effect on the users and visitors of the building, as well as the extraordinary correlation between the Centre’s purpose and its architectural implementation.

The pioneering facility, based in Schweinfurt, Germany is used by SKF for large-scale bearing testing. It was designed by architects Tchoban Voss based in Hamburg. Frank Focke, associate partner at the company said: “It fills us with pride that we were able to help this unique facility achieve a globally recognised design. This is where, among other things, large-size bearings for wind turbines are tested and that is why we have chosen a strikingly slanted, literally warped form as the basic architectural motif. In addition, this dynamic design also indicates the forces being unleashed in the interior of the building.”

Two new test rigs in the belly of the twin building can dynamically apply forces to huge bearings in all directions. These combined forces are many times higher than those of comparable facilities and also permit significantly higher test speeds than previously possible. “This ensures very fast test cycles, which ultimately saves energy,” reports

Dr. Martin Göbel, manager Global Testing at SKF. “In addition, the findings from the tests will enable us to produce optimised generations of large-size bearings much more efficiently in the future.”

A strong sense of sustainability is echoed throughout the building. For example, in the selection of acoustic wall cladding and ceiling mirrors, as well as in the lighting concept and numerous other equipment details. In addition, waste heat from the test facility is used for heat recovery in the building itself, as well as for an adjacent SKF large-size bearing factory.

The International Architecture Awards were presented by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

For more information contact Samantha Joubert, SKF South Africa, +27 11 821 3500,,


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